Here is the third installment of my year by year list of underrated horror movies. You can read underrated horror movies from 1981 and underrated horror movies from 1980. This time around, we are taking a look at the underrated horror films from 1982. In a year when we were treated to films like Poltergeist, The Thing, Friday the 13th Part III and Creepshow, we were also given some nice films that you may have missed.
Alone in the Dark
A quartet of murderous psychopaths break out of a mental hospital during a power blackout and lay siege to their doctor’s house.
Director: Jack Sholder
Writers: Jack Sholder (story), Robert Shaye (story), and 2 more credits Â»
Stars: Jack Palance, Donald Pleasence and Martin Landau
Alone in the Dark is an underrated slasher film directed by Jack Sholder. It was the director’s debut film and was the first motion picture to be released by New Line Cinema. Jack Sholder went on to direct A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge after this one and we all know how well New Line Cinema did after 1982.
Alone in the Dark also starred such icons as Jack Palance, Donald Pleasence and Martin Landau. Make sure that you check this one out if you have not already.
A young man carrying a big basket that contains his deformed Siamese-twin brother seeks vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will.
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Writer: Frank Henenlotter
Stars: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith and Beverly Bonner
Basket Case is probably not even remotely underrated, but it is a guilty pleasure for me. The entire series is fun as hell, but I am definitely in the minority on this one. This one was written and directed by Frank Henenlotter who also directed the next two sequels to the franchise. He was also responsible for Brain Damage, Frankenhooker and Bad Biology.
The “Boogens” are scaly monsters that look somewhat like giant turtles with lots of sharp, nasty teeth. They are released from an abandoned, boarded-up silver mine in Colorado and proceed to do away with character after character.
Director: James L. Conway
Writers: Thomas C. Chapman (story), Jim Kouf
Stars: Rebecca Balding, Fred McCarren and Anne-Marie Martin
Stephen King championed this film for a while because he recognized that is was something out of the ordinary. It will definitely not be film of the year, but it is a fun watch. This one is a true underrated film in every sense of the word.
The Dorm That Dripped Blood (AKA Pranks)
Joanne, Patty, Brian, and Craig prepare the old dorm building to be torn down. They are pursued by a serial killer with a wide range of murder methods, ranging from power drill to industrial steam cooker. Is it that spooky weird guy John Hemmit killing off the incidental characters, or is it someone/thing even more terrifying?
Directors: Stephen Carpenter, Jeffrey Obrow
Writers: Stephen Carpenter, Stacey Giachino
Stars: Laurie Lapinski, Stephen Sachs and David Snow
This is another one where I am in the minority on, but The Dorm That Dripped Blood is a film not to be missed. In the UK, the film was deemed to be a video nasty because of the drill killing sequence. Nice gore and a decent slasher.
Madman (AKA Madman Marz / The Legend Lives)
At a summer camp for youths, cockey pre-teen calls out the name of mass serial killer “Madman Marz”. Suddenly, counselors are being maimed and slaughtered in various ways by the backwoodsman who has returned when his name was called.
Director: Joe Giannone
Writers: Joe Giannone (screenplay), Joe Giannone (story)
Stars: Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish and Harriet Bass
Madman has pretty much achieved a cult classic status, but that does not mean that it is not an underrated movie. At the time of its release, it was bashed by genre fans and non-genre fans alike. It was simply trashed. Years later, people began to realize that this was a damned good slasher.
The Slumber Party Massacre
An eighteen-year-old high school girl is left at home by her parents and she decides to have a slumber party. There is friction between some of the invited guests and the new girl, who is better at basketball than they, so the new girl decides to stay at home (which is conveniently across the street from the host’s house). Meanwhile, a murderer of five people with a propensity for power tools has escaped and is at large, and eventually makes his way to the party, where the guests begin experiencing an attrition problem, with only the new girl to help them.
Director: Amy Holden Jones
Writer: Rita Mae Brown
Stars: Michelle Michaels, Robin Stille and Michael Villella
The Slumber Party Massacre was written by author and feminist activist Rita Mae Brown and was originally intended to be a parody of the slasher films. Producers ended up filming it as a straight genre film instead. Because of this, the film contains more humor than other slashers of the time period.
I really cannot recommend the sequels, but this one is a classic slasher from the 80s. It is littered with cheese, but still holds up fairly well to this day.